Adventuring in Alaska part 1

I have a friend named Dave. Dave had become one of my favorite and trustworthy adventure buddies over the years and almost a year ago we lost Dave to brain cancer. I’ve shared many adventures with Dave, including canyoneering routes all over SoCal, hiking as much as possible, climbing from Joshua Tree to our epic in the Angeles Forest, and even swimming class 3+ rapids with him after our ducky flipped in a rapid on the Kern. He was always up for adventure and went out there and pursued it on the regular and has been an inspiration to me over the years. When I heard that his sister Dawn was planning a trip to Alaska in his honor and would include all the things Dave had wanted to do for years it didn’t take much convincing for me to hop on board and join the festivities. Adventure for those who can’t. Adventure for those who aren’t with us anymore. Adventure for Dave.

Getting Lost in Death Valley

I am pretty lucky to work in an industry where I have time off to go explore and chase those personal bucket list items. Every Fall/Winter I’m released into the wild after working nonstop for 9 months of the year and I have my choice of traveling wherever time and my bank account will allow. Although I try not to repeat too many locations if I can help it, I found myself heading back to Death Valley National Park, the largest national park outside of Alaska. Winter is the perfect time to head to the park and it was my last stop before I was to begin working again. I was headed there from Vegas so I stopped at Tecopa Hot Springs Resort & Campground in Tecopa, CA to spend the night before I entered the park.

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Mt. Langley

Hiking Mt. Langley

As I went to bed last night I had butterflies in my belly for the first time in a really long time. It’s not like I hadn’t done something like this before. I hiked Mt. Whitney a few years ago as a day hike and just this week also reached the top of White Mountain, one of only two CA 14-thousand footers that aren’t in the Sierra Nevada Range. But it still seemed kinda like a big deal. I’ve had many early awakenings this Summer to summit Half Dome by sunrise (I think my total was 5), but that was always a decision made for clients and the group I was with, not just me. This was the first time in a long time that I was the one making the decision on what I wanted to do, and also technically the first time I would set out in the dark by myself for an adventure goal that I wanted to accomplish, just me, myself, and I. I was going to hike to the top of Mt. Langley, the 9th tallest peak in California and I was going to force myself up at a god-awful hour in the morning to do it.

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Hiking White Mountain Peak

Hiking White Mountain Peak Cover

I was finally released into the wild for the season from working and I had no plans, so of course I immediately gravitated back towards the Sierra for at least a week or two of some stellar hiking. I knew being the end of October that the weather would potentially not be the greatest, but also that if I dressed just right I could still check out some amazing things before the snow finally came and shut down most of these mountains for the winter (at least for me!).

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Trans Catalina Island

Blast off! Headed on a ferry to Catalina Island where I’m about to embark on the Trans Catalina Trail, a hefty trail that starts (or ends depending on how you do the trail), at Avalon and spans the whole island at 38.5 miles and 9,600 ft. elevation change, eventually landing at Parsons Landing, where I’ll camp right smack dab on the beach. I’m stoked. I’ve been to Catalina a couple times before but never actually hiked on the island and since that’s one of my favorite things to do it’s about g-dang time! I decided to just go for this trip since the weather was still pleasant and not tooo hot (mid-April), I had time off from work, and golly-gee roger, campsites, they were available! When the stars align, you must follow those stars and go backpacking!

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I finally was able to do it. A Clark Range Loop that took me over Red Peak Pass. I have looked at these peaks from afar for two summers now and pointed each one of them out to clients sighing for when I might be able to venture closer to their jagged peaks. Finally I had 4.5 days off in between trips in September and although I would’ve liked to have gone sooner I took the chance and ran with it. I seized the opportunity to finally plan out a route that would take me to one of the most distinct ranges in Yosemite and also go over one of the highest passes in the park. Pumped.

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